Brown City Shakers: Thomas Knox #DateWhileYouWait
Brown City Shakers are trail blazers, creatives, risk takers, all adjectives that lead to Thomas Knox. He had the audacity to believe he can sit in a busy NYC subway station and get people to stop in the middle of their commute to interact with him...and he did!
#Datewhileyouwait was birthed to promote human connection using a table, 2 chairs, one flower, and a board game. He invites people to have a seat, play a game and engage in old school communication. His hashtag took over the internet and he has been featured by every news outlet you can think of. Being a New York native, this was all mind blowing to me. I have for years watched people even side eye the kids selling candy in the train station, so I had to learn how Thomas did this.
DWYW seems to make people go "why didn't I think of that", What was your inspiration?
My inspiration for DWYW was deep human connection and conversation. I wanted to create something that would challenge people to think differently, not only about their commutes but also about their conversations.
What was your expectation the first time you did DWYW?
I wanted to meet as many people as I could. I wanted to hear their stories and share mine. My goal was to give people an outlet to speak up and out.
Were you surprised about the reception you received and the movement you have started?
Absolutely! I was blown away. I really didn't understand it at first. I thought people were talking about it because they thought is was about dating, but I noticed after some time that people were understanding my intent and were very happy for me. Everybody wanted to get involved.
Thomas gives aspiring entrepreneurs advice for bringing ideas to life!
DWYW seems like a pretty bold endeavor, especially in a city like New York, where the residents have a rep for not being too friendly. Were you nervous to start this?
Oh Yes, but I was very confident in my ability to connect with people. It worked out just as I expected it to.
How do you overcome caring about what people may think or how they would react?
I look at every situation as an opportunity to give my best and strive for greatness. Growing up, my Father always said “You never know the outcome of something until you try”. I’ve taken that to heart as an adult. I give my best in every situation, knowing that the outcome will work out because I believed in my ability to give my all.
The subway station can be an adventure in NY. I can only imagine all the different types of people you have met, tell us about your most memorable interaction?
My most memorable interaction was when I met with a women who had Fibromyalgia disease. She was an educator and had to stop teaching because this disease was taking over her life and she was constantly in pain. She sat with me for about 30 minutes and right before she got up to leave, she reach over to me and said “This is the first time Ive been without pain since I was diagnosed. Thank you so much for the date” I was almost in tears.
Brown in the city is a term we've deemed for creative professionals and artist of color chasing their dreams in their city despite any obstacles. What does Brown in the City mean for you?
To me brown in the city means standing up for your passions and flourishing in your purpose. It gives me the strength to continue standing tall in the present. It lets me know that all life stories are important and matter.
And we couldn't let Thomas go without giving us an inside scoop on what he has coming up for Date While You Wait. Check out what he had to say in the below video, and follow @datewhileyouwait to stay in the know.